EEOC says it will focus on eliminating pregnancy discrimination

All employees expect to be treated equally in the workplace. In many San Diego offices and work settings, workers are treated fairly and do not have to worry about discrimination or harassment because their employers do a good job of enforcing and reminding employees of California and federal labor and employment laws.

When employers do not do a good job of enforcing policies that protect the rights of employees, employers may be liable for fostering poor work environments and contributing to the occurrence of illegal actions in the workplace. To help reduce employment discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a public meeting and listened to a panel of experts who offered some suggestions about how the EEOC can continue to effectively enforce federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace.

After listening to the panel of experts, the EEOC announced that one of its main priorities over the next few years will be to crackdown on pregnancy discrimination.

During these tough economic times, many families are discovering that it is necessary for both parents to work in order to provide for their children. However, the panel of experts told the EEOC that pregnancy discrimination continues to exist in our workplaces, which is making it very difficult for women to find and obtain jobs when they need their jobs the most. Under federal laws, it is illegal for employers to fire an employee because she is pregnant. It is also illegal to refuse to a hire a woman because she is pregnant.

The EEOC seems to be keeping its promise to enforce discrimination laws and to penalize companies who violate these laws in California and across the entire country. The EEOC has already pursued a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against a firm in Washington, D.C. The federal agency has also reached settlements in three other cases.

One of the recent settlements stems from a complaint against a California-based food supplier and processor. The company will pay $140,000 for violating pregnancy discrimination laws.

Source: HR.BLR.com, “Discrimination against pregnant employees, caregivers still tops EEOC’s list,” July 17, 2012

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